Getting the jump

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

With free agency, mini-camps and the larger-than-life treatment of the college draft, there isn't much down time in the NFL off-season. The draft is still three weeks away, however, free agency is almost a month old and the highest-profile signings have taken place. As the dust settles for a few days, here is a look at some of the more intriguing moves and non-moves thus far:

- Drew Bledsoe to Dallas: For Cowboys fans, this is seen as desperation, a last gasp for both the quarterback and his one-time coach with the Patriots, Bill Parcells. Taking over a struggling offence isn't exactly a nice fit for Bledsoe, who went from saviour to being sacked too often in three short years with the Buffalo Bills. If Parcells can't build an offensive line, this experiment could end in a hurry.

By dealing Bledsoe, Bills general manager Tom Donahoe and coach Mike Mularkey are pushing a big pile of chips to the middle of the table. While Bledsoe has underachieved, especially in his biggest games, it takes faith to hand the ball to J.P. Losman, who took but a handful of snaps as a rookie. Donahoe wisely hedged his big bet by signing former Cleveland Browns starter, Kelly Holcomb, as a backup.

- Randy Moss to Oakland: Bad-boy receiver Moss is a nice fit for the Raiders and especially so for QB Kerry Collins, who still has arguably one of the best arms in the league. It may be a stretch, but the Vikes believe they can make up for the loss of Moss with emerging star, Nate Burleson.

- Plaxico Burress to N.Y. Giants: It was a mild surprise that Burress didn't get snapped up in the first couple of days of free agency, which allowed the Giants to make a big score. Plax is a deep threat and a nice hedge on the investment in soon-to-be second-year quarterback Eli Manning. With Amani Toomer, Manning has two threats and perhaps now tight end Jeremy Shockey will live up to his considerable hype.

- Rick Demulling to Detroit: Rick who, you ask? The offensive guard was one of the key protectors to Peyton Manning and his record-setting Indianapolis Colts offence the past three seasons. Is he talented enough to save Joey Harrington? The Lions think so, coughing up $4.5 million US over two years to get one of the most-sought after big-man free agents.

- Nick Saban to Miami: The college coaching guru, who left a winning program at Louisiana State, is a one-time pro assistant to Patriots' Bill Belichick. He'll need more than that pedigree to revive the Dolphins, who have some defence but lack a quality QB and running back.

- Silence in San Francisco: The worst team in the league faces a huge decision -- to deal their No. 1 draft pick or opt for selecting QBs Aaron Rodgers from Cal or Alex Smith at Utah, the two players that top most early mock draft lists.

- Pat Williams to Vikings: One of the big reasons -- and at 6-foot-3, 315 pounds, we mean big -- the Bills defence was so effective stopping the run. Now he anchors a Vikes defence that barely existed the past two seasons.

- Jeff Garcia to Detroit: A bust in Cleveland where he clashed with coach Butch Davis. Now he goes to the Lions where incumbent Harrington is said to be on a short leash with coach Steve Mariucci, who taught the West Coast offence to Garcia with the 49ers.


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